on a scale of kindness

Parenting is…so much.  I’m not sure how to describe it sometimes because words feel so inadequate.  But tonight I felt sad, because I let Josiah go to bed without fully reconciling and as I sat on his bed just now, petting his head as he slept I realized how thankful I am to have this precious boy as my first born son.

It was something silly tonight- he wanted another snack after bedtime- and I wanted to be alone.  I yelled loudly for him to come down and even one pitch above normal makes him cringe so as he walked into the room I knew I had crushed his little heart.  I said I was sorry, but didn’t fully mean it; got him another snack and sent him back to bed with a rushed ‘i love you, go to bed’ exit.

An hour later it hit me.  I needed to truly repent and hug my son.  But it was beautiful because I realized I am learning to respond so much quicker than I used to.  This young child, just five years old, is teaching me tenderness better than any person ever has.  He gives kindness without thinking twice, he shows me patience when I have none left… he truly loves so well.  I used to hold onto grudges and my pride so much longer.  I’m growing.  What a gift from Jesus.  I am just so grateful for my sweet tender boy, a living breathing example right in front of my face every single day.

On the way home from school today, he was eating a mini bag of skittles he had earned in class and out of the blue he said that he was saving two lemons (my favorite) for me because I was a good mom.  I was touched then, but as I sit in my tears tonight, I see how Jesus is speaking so clearly to me.

I’m gonna fail a lot as a parent.  I’m human.  I’m selfish.  I’m prideful.  But God is kind enough to use just about anything to sanctify me, to humble me, and to build me back up- in His likeness.  And He calls us into who we become.  My sweet boy has been like my very own personal tenderizer.  One of the meanings of the name Josiah is “Jehovah Heals”, and what beautiful healing has come to my heart through his gentle ways over the last five years.

I wrote his lunch box note tonight that included the sentence: thanks for being kind even when I’m not.  It hurt to write but I don’t want to shy away from calling my kids into who they are, in spite of my many shortcomings.  God is already hard at work in my son’s life and I marvel at what He’s chipping away in mine along the way.

[Josiah- I’m guessing you’ll read this one day- and I want you to know.  I love you with all my heart and I’m so so so thankful you are my son.  Being your mom is one of the greatest joys of my life and I can’t wait to see what your journey holds.  At five years old you’ve shown me God’s heart more often that I can count…don’t ever forget…His kindness in you can move mountains.]

she is TWO.

DSC_0226My sweet baby girl is two.  I will skip the omygosh-where-did-time-go exclamations even though I can’t believe it.  But she is seriously such a two year old.  I think she is more of a classic two year old than I’ve ever had.  That doesn’t really make sense unless you know her brothers, but I digress.  She cuddles, she runs, she flops herself down.  She rarely stops for more than a minute unless it’s borderline bedtime and then she can be found staring blankly into space.  She is tender, she is sweet, she is tough and she is wiggly.  She already makes the funniest faces and knows how to make me giggle!


Our little Maya is fiercely independent and gives the stanky eye to almost anyone.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stranger get a smile from the little princess.  She laughs hard though, in the presence of her family and friends.  Her giggle…I can’t even describe the cuteness.  But her voice- ohhhhhhhhh it’s a whole other level of adorableness.  Little girl voices are so sweet and hers is so different than her brothers.

DSC_0082She is a daddy’s girl through and through.  She will choose him over anyone, every day of the week.  She loves us all, for sure, but holds a special spot just for her daddy.  I love watching them snuggle and play.  Maya follows her brothers around endlessly too, though she is pretty good at manipulating Regan into following her now instead.  It’s pretty hilarious to watch.  She is learning her powers… though she rarely gets away with anything because of her two watchmen (aka: brothers) who see everything and report back to us.  I’m glad.  Especially since she’s more curious than anyone I know.DSC_0081

I love the way she dives into her bedding when I go in to get her up in the morning, full of laughter unless she’s extra tired…and then the snuggles are endless.  I love the way she giggles when I zip up her pjs and how she falls into an immediate trance any time anyone pets her head.  Her little tippy-toe walk has been signature since she began to take steps and I love that she can’t wait to get shoes on; literally handing me each foot.  I love that if she’s hungry she will find something and bring it to me to open…so resourceful ha!

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Last but not least, I couldn’t write a birthday post without mentioning her little temper.  I mean, come on- this face.  It’s precious and sad all at the same time.  Her sadness rarely lasts for long but she can be so dramatic.  It’s hard not to chuckle because it’s weird to see such a young girl be such a drama queen.  Just goes to show- it’s in them from the start.  I’m glad Maya is so chill overall and I’m also glad she has a little flare- it makes life interesting.

To be honest, I have not figured this precious little girl out.  But that’s what I love about her.  She is quirky and random, rarely predictable… just the kind of daughter I’ve always wanted.  She’s dainty yet strong, wild yet reserved.  I still love dressing her every day- that never gets old.  And I so love that I get to call this special doll my daughter.  What an incredible  gift you are to our family Mymy.

Happy 2nd Birthday my sweetie.  You are the best daughter I could have ever asked for.  You truly are great joy, just as your name says and I can’t imagine my life without you.

I love you, Mommy


*written a few months ago- but never posted…

Perhaps its the nostalgia of Josiah’s fifth birthday that has me looking backwards… or just gratefulness in general.   This week I have been mesmerized with what God has done since I’ve been married.  I wrestled with waiting to write this post until our anniversary, but that’s four months away and who knows when inspiration will hit next so here I go.

In October it will be 9 years of being a Farrell.  Bart and I had somewhat of a whirlwind romance- began dating, got engaged and married all within 9 months.  Everyone warned us that it was going to be hard, to brace ourselves for reality…but it never came.  It was sooo fun to be married- and Bart has always made it easy.  Don’t get me wrong, over the last 9 years there have been struggles but thankfully it’s been a joy every day.

After almost ten years of marriage one starts to analyze what that decade will be remembered for in the years to come.  I’ve often wondered if our first ten years of marriage will be considered transition.  From newly married, to quitting our jobs and moving to the midwest, finding new jobs,buying a house, selling a house, adopting 3 children, moving back to Jersey, buying another house-moving 7 different times during the last 9 years…I can’t count the number of times I’ve told myself “this is going to be a new season, embrace it” before jumping in to a new reality.

Sometimes I wonder if this is just how we will live the rest of our lives.  Always changing and moving and transitioning…but then I wonder if God will call us to stay somewhere.  And at some point I think we’ll be done adopting children so that life altering reality of adding a baby will end… I know that life never stands still, so I am well aware that change is inevitable and seasons change, even to those who stay in the same place for their entire lives.

I love seasons, the actual weather ones and all the other ones in between.  And I guess I’m just thankful today for my life.

is it christmas yet

Ohhhh I am almost literally drooling over Christmas decor online.  It’s bad.  It’s not even November and I’m already getting the itch.  I’ve already decided that I won’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start throwing around the Christmas cheer but just how far into November will I get before the boxes make their way up from the basement?  Hmmm.  Can’t stop this.

I wasn’t excited about fall decorating this year, even though usually that’s a big high for me.  I think with our trip overshadowed (rightfully so) the fall-ness of it all.  And now I’m just ready for red and green and cable knit everything and lots of buffalo plaid and eek.  I am even thinking of using all my birthday $ for home decor this year…that’s when I know I’m over the top.

We are celebrating Christmas here in NJ this year, which makes me super excited too.  It’s the first time we’ve been in this home hosting Christmas and there’s plenty of room for my family to come and relax…just ten weeks from now.

Yes- Christmas is in eleven weeks.  HOORAY!

One year on the blog I did a post every day of December related to Christmas…I am toying with the idea of doing a little decor post for the first 24 days of the month this year, but I hate to commit to anything too strenuous. Ha.  I LOVE this holiday.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Ok. stopping the Christmas cheer for a minute.  Don’t worry, besides the carols my boys are singing (thanks to my mother) there isn’t a single Christmas tune blaring…yet.  But it’s 6:15pm and getting darker by the minute.  Just a little more  time until…

He did it.

As I deleted the last of my to-do lists entitled Europe this morning, I breathed a happy sigh.  It was as if everything I had wanted to happen did in fact, occur.  Yet I couldn’t have known what it would feel like…I just know I prayed hard over the last few months for this feeling that washed over me today: complete thankfulness and overwhelming gratitude.  I like my life.  I love my husband and my children and my home.  God is good, oh so good.

But I doubted.  In the days following our return from the amazing 8 days away on a european cruise, I was tired and grumpy.  I was so happy to see my kids and my parents but I wasn’t ready to jump back into my role.  I didn’t want to change diapers and feed their little mouthes and muster up enough patience for each moment of the day.  And it worried me.  I doubted that all this was for naught.  I almost couldn’t believe that it didn’t change me and renew my sense of purpose and blah blah blah.  I was a tad crushed but still held onto a speck of hope as I began to dread the day reality would hit- my parents would fly away and school would begin and I would be alone with the kiddos.

But that was today.  And gosh darn, it was an INCREDIBLE day!  My heart has been soft and tears linger right near the surface…but they are the good kind- the ones that I call gratitude and happiness and joy- such sweet joy.  God did renew me.  He did revive us.  I’m laughing more.  I’m ready to do this again- wifery, motherhood, homemaker, friend….YES!  I can’t thank Him enough.  He has been so kind to walk me through, knowing full well that this day would come.  Thank you Jesus.

You did it.

*I will try and do a separate Europe post, sometime in the new few weeks.

happy birthday ejer

Some people walk into your lives and end up being forever friends.  I love that I never know when it’s gonna happen or how it will play out…but I have been blessed with a few friends like this.  Ones with whom I’ve logged many many many hours face to face and now even tho a thousand miles stand between us, we still manage to keep up with each other.

There is this one girl in particular who lives in the midwest (still!) and asks the best questions…always remembers details and dates…and tells me she’s proud of me often.  I like her a lot.  I like the way she’s not perfect and not afraid to show all of her.  I like the way she’s unoffendable and always thinks about others first.  I love the way she raises her sweet kiddos and cares for her awesome husband.

Lately she’s made me cry more than any other human…bc she’s going through a little rough patch and I like to think we’re connected in deep ways.  When she cries, I cry.  This girl is a tough one, people.  Seriously one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.  But she’s tender- it’s the best combination.  I marvel at the way she says yes to Jesus every single day, no matter how hard life gets.  She shows me who God is, just by being herself.

There aren’t a lot of people on this planet that know me really well.  I suppose that’s my fault, or perhaps its how I like it.  But this birthday girl- she knows me. And I’m so, so, so glad.  Happy Birthday Eliza Joy.

Let’s meet in Traverse City, k?

ever my “little” sister

It happened tonight.

Josiah looked at his little brother’s drink and complained there were “little pieces” floating in it.  He refused to take a sip.  I almost died laughing.  It has begun.

For as long as I’ve remembered, I’ve said the same thing about my little sister.  Probably just one time she backwashed into my drink when we were young and for a very long time, as in, far into my 20s I still held to the truth that she totally left behind particles.  For the record I know she didn’t.  She doesn’t.  She’s 29 now, but ever still my baby sister.  Seven years doesn’t feel like quite the chasm it used to and I love her dearly.  But I still tease her about it.

I didn’t let her drive my car until she was in college and the only reason I finally caved was because I cracked my tailbone while we were snowboarding and literally couldn’t sit.  I closed my eyes most of the ride down the mountain.  Nowadays she is my airport taxi on the west coast and I’m so grateful she doesn’t hold my issues of trust against me.  I still wince when she drives, but I do the same thing with Bart so I think that says more about me than them.

Little sister, I miss you.

I’m glad my boys are gonna remind me of us sometimes.

If you were here right now, I’d let you take my drink no matter what.